Peter Hakim spoke with Al Jazeera to analyze the political impact of accusations that Brazilian justice minister Sergio Moro conspired with prosecutors to jail former president Lula while Moro was a judge.
Comments from Peter Hakim:
“It seems to me it is an enormous stain on the entire judicial system if in fact that was the way they worked, where judges cooperated with prosecutors to begin to pin charges on people. And whether it was illegal or not is one question I cannot answer, but certainly, it seems like they stepped over a real ethical line.”
“This is one more reason why Brazilians are fed up with their government, and distrust of the institutions. They just seem to be polluted from across the spectrum.”
“It certainly is going to dramatically mobilize the Lula supporters, the Left, who saw him as a likely winner of the last election if he had been allowed to run. And even if he been allowed to give a public statement from jail or an interview, he might have pushed over the line the candidate from his party. So it really does call into question the legitimacy of the election.”
“The question is how involved were judges and government officials in pushing for certain kinds of prosecutions that should be handled by prosecutors and then brought to a neutral, non-biased court. The questions began really earlier on when people questioned the impeachment of Lula’s, of the woman that succeeded him as president [Dilma Rousseff]. Was that an entirely ethical, legal process by which she was impeached? That is going to be questioned again. In other words, I think this really going to be difficult under current circumstances for Brazil to sort of move on and face the challenges that it now faces. Whether it is corruption or the economy, etc., this is a major scandal.”
“Well, I don’t think that [an investigation by the US Justice Department] is going to happen very quickly. Trump has made a certain alignment with President Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro and him have pledge each other to find closer relations. I would say you have to leave this up to the Brazilian judicial system. There is no good reason why the US should be investigating at this point.”